Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
When this book found its way back into my hands, and I finally read it, the pure joy of why I love books and how they so inspire me to look at things differently and even transform my life In ways that I may not know or understand – is simply magic.
I bought this book years ago from a used bookstore. It’s still a bit tattered and worn. The original book was written in 1922 by the German Hermann Hesse. My copy has a copyright of 1951.
Somehow between all my moves, packing, and unpacking, this book – Siddartha, got lost on a shelf, not to be found until a few weeks ago. I had been reading another book – Dipa Ma by Amy Schmidt. (That review is coming soon.)
Schmidt mentioned in the Introduction of the book – Dipa Ma that reading Siddartha, inspired her to go on a three-month meditation retreat at the Insight Meditation Society.
That’s when the lightbulb went off for me. “What a minute, I think I have that book and never read it.”
So the story goes.
Has this ever happened to you?
Someone recommends a book. Then you buy it.
When it arrives, you look at it, try to read it, and you just can’t and put it back on the shelf.
That’s happened to me quite a few times.
The best part is it’s just like the old saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” When I’m open, willing, and ready, the book will make its’ way back to me to read.
That’s surely what happened to this book. I picked it up and finished it in a couple of days.
It is relatively short. Yet, it’s packed with so many meanings within its narrow cover.
This book also reminded me a lot of Paulo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist. (This review is coming soon too!) And also, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.
These books are philosophical novels or allegories about a core character who goes on a journey of discovery.
I loved that this book encompasses Siddartha’s lifespan, from teenager to older man. It was interesting to see the different stages of his life and the journey of discovery he went through.
There was so much meaning jammed into the pages I knew I had to share this book with you. Yes, it is pretty old, and many people may know about it.
No matter how old this book is or how long it’s been on bookshelves, it will bring so many different aha moments for anyone curious enough to pick it up and read. (I hope that’s you.) Yet, I want my blog to highlight and bring back classics like this so they won’t ever be forgotten.
A Book Summary to Inspire You To Read It!
Quick Summary: This is a philosophical journey written by Herman Hesse in German. It’s widely regarded as one of Hesse’s most famous and important works. The book is based on the early life of Buddha. And was translated into English by Hilda Rosner.
The book follows the journey of Siddhartha, a young teenager in ancient India who realized the contradiction between reality and what he was taught as a young Brahman. He decided to defy his father, abandon his comfortable life, and go off on a spiritual quest for enlightenment. He realized the contradiction between reality and what he was taught as a young Brahman.
The best parts of the books are all the “teachers” he meets along the way. Plus, he experiences all the suffering, desire, and material wealth. It’s about the ultimate human experience of self-discovery and unity of all things. It’s about spiritual wisdom and longing for the meaning of life.
WHO Ought to Read this Book: If you’re curious about spirituality, the quest for enlightenment, and self-discovery, then this is the book for you. What’s so terrific about it is that it’s an allegory. So the learning is through the story, not a list of what you need to do, tools, tips, meditations, etc. It’s just a pure store filled with much wisdom, inspiration, and meaning between its pages.
Why Read this Book? There are many books on spirituality, meditation, dharma, Buddhism, and more. All of them with different themes, objectives, and ways of communicating. This book will give you inspiration and insight into one man’s thirst for self-discovery and enlightenment. It’s told as a philosophical story that has tremendous meaning and wisdom. There are so many terrific passages and questions in there. It’s a book I will reread.
Things You Will Discover:
Siddhartha struggles with the church’s teachings because it goes against the internal messages of his soul.
It challenges our ideas of what it means to lead a spiritual life. And the struggle when we strive for meaning and self-growth through blindly following a religion or any system of belief.
The importance of being in the present moment is never the same. It’s constantly changing and new.
The book’s final part brilliantly explains visually how life can be vibrant, fluctuating, and tenuous, using the river as a symbol to convey how the reality of each moment is constantly changing, new and flowing, just like the river.
Specific Themes of the book:
- Defining Spirituality
- What is Enlightenment
- The Stages of Life
- Love & Lust
- The Importance of Communication
- Wisdom & Knowledge
- Being a Parent
- The Illusiveness of Time
- Language & Communication
- The Search for Satisfaction and Reality
- Our Mortality
INSPIRING BOOK QUOTES:
Communication & Wisdom:
“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
Giving Misfortune Meaning:
“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way, we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”
“We are not going in circles. We are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”
Are We Seeking Too Much?:
“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much that, as a result of your seeking, you cannot find.”
How to Love the World:
“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration, and respect.”
What are Wisdom, Value & Words:
“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately. They are expressed a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”
It’s Time to Stop Judging:
“It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
What is stronger…:
“. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”
It’s About a Thirst For…:
“I have always thirsted for knowledge. I have always been full of questions.”
What are your Opinions?:
“Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them.”
This is Greatness:
“Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.”
“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
About the Author: – Hermann Hesse
Hermann Karl Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. His best-known works include Francis of Assisi, Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge, and spirituality. The central theme of his work is the individual’s efforts to break out of the established modes of civilization to find an essential spirit and identity.
Where I Would Recommend Getting Your Copy:
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Other Like-Minded Books:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
The Valkyries by Paulo Coehlo
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The Prophet by Kalil Gibran
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
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Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!
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